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Merz’s creative exploration of the industrial, the domestic, and the feminine dates to the mid-1960s. On the surface of this untitled work, the artist tacked a number of her signature knitted copper grids, known as quadratini (little squares). By manipulating copper wire with patient handiwork, Merz created three-dimensional drawings in space, moving beyond the pictorial field into our own environment. Moreover, by using an industrial material for the artisanal practice of knitting, often associated with feminine handicraft, Merz deconstructed binaries between industrial and artisanal practice as well as the gendering of artistic materials and processes. Merz often reflected on what it meant to be a woman artist and a mother. She frequently made her work in the space of the home and of motherhood (in her view), while caring for her daughter Beatrice. Her use of push pins, knitted wire, and everyday materials can be read as extensions of the domestic and artistic environment of Merz’s home. The resulting work explores the potential recoding of gendered labor through creative practice. Merz’s work constitutes a forerunner of feminist practice in Italian art that pre-dates the Italian feminist movement of the early 1970s.

Details

  • Title: Untitled
  • Creator: Marisa Merz
  • Creator Lifespan: (1926 – 2019)
  • Creator Nationality: Italian
  • Date Created: 1997
  • Physical Dimensions: h 188, w 150 cm
  • Rights: Courtesy Magazzino Italian Art Foundation
  • Medium: Graphite, pastels, copper, and thumbtacks on paper mounted on wood

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